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Letter from St. Andrews: One-Line Wonders

Our columnist speaks his mind on the topics that have been occupying his brain

By: George Peper

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Winter 2010 issue of LINKS

In the immortal words of New York sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, “nobody asked me but…”

  • If you can’t finish 18 holes in four hours or less, there’s something wrong with you, your golf course, or both.
  • Headcovers in the age of metal woods are somewhere between superfluous and a scam.
  • The three best places in the world to play are Cypress Point, Fishers Island, and The Old Course.
  • Golfers are funniest when they’re trying to be serious.
  • If you can’t break 100, it really doesn’t matter which golf ball you play.
  • Golf has never had a more exemplary player—or less exemplary individual—than Tiger Woods.
  • As long as we’re all calculating yardages, let’s do it the most efficient way—with GPS everywhere, beginning with the four majors.
  • A really good swing key lasts about three rounds.
  • Ninety-nine percent of Florida golf courses are underwhelming.
  • The continuing existence of the Champions Tour simply defies gravity.
  • No rain suit is completely waterproof.
  • Once you’ve played golf half a dozen times, you’re stuck with your swing.
  • If golf’s leading associations had worked as hard at finding a solution to the problem of slow play as they did at getting golf into the Olympics, they would have done the game far more good.
  • The most underrated course architect was Seth Raynor.
  • What the pro tour needs immediately is a uniform ball which, when struck at a swing speed in excess of 110 miles per hour, explodes.
  • Golf carts are underrated and caddies are overrated.
  • There has never been a great golf novel.
  • Or a great golf movie.
  • Anyone who takes the pin out before hitting a chip or putt from off the green doesn’t want to hole it.
  • Fourteen clubs are way too many, especially if you’re very young or very old.
  • It’s time for chairman Billy Payne and Augusta National to step up and admit a woman member—the rest of the holdouts (the R&A, Pine Valley, all of them) will soon follow.
  • The only real golf is links golf.
  • The game’s cleverest announcer is David Feherty, the most polished is Jim Nantz, and the best—because he’s the most honest—is Johnny Miller.
  • On most days, sneakers are just as good as golf shoes.
  • I’d much rather play with a 36-handicapper who moves along than a scratch golfer who drags his feet.
  • Mickelson (the magician) and Dave Pelz (the engineer) are the oddest couple ever.
  • Iron clubhead technology hasn’t progressed much since Karsten Solheim invented the Ping Eye 2.
  • The closest thing to golf is playing the slots—both involve selective reinforcement.
  • The LPGA Tour desperately needs two things: marketing wizardry from Mike Wahn and multiple wins from Michele Wie.
  • Fast downhill putts are the easiest because you don’t have to hit them.
  • If your home course has the word “links” in its name and you live anywhere but Great Britain & Ireland, change the name.
  • As agitated as I get being held up on the golf course, I get ten times more agitated when my own group is doing the holding up.
  • If you want to hook a kid on golf, hook his father or mother.
  • Ben Hogan had guts, Sam Snead had talent, but Byron Nelson had more class than the two of them combined.
  • There are way too many Rules of Golf.
  • I love going 18 with the bag on my back, but courses that push a “walking-only” policy are self righteous and elitist.
  • We are all victims of our best shots.
  • No bargain in golf can touch St. Andrews, where citizens get unlimited play on seven courses (including the Old Course) for an annual fee of about $200.
  • Once your ball is on the green, you shouldn’t be allowed to touch it more than once.
  • A lot of the blame for slow play goes to Jack Nicklaus, who set the glacial pace.
  • Golf is just as discriminatory as it was a hundred years ago—the difference now is that it’s not according to gender, race, creed, or color—it’s according to wealth.
  • We don’t need more Pebble Beaches; we do need more Bandon Dunes.
  • If the PGA Tour were to vanish tomorrow, golfers everywhere would go right on playing, their numbers undiminished.
  • I love Ricky Fowler’s swing but hate his hat.
  • The best country club is one that offers a decent golf course, a hook to hang your coat on, and almost nothing else.
  • Bobby Jones wrote golf almost as well as he played it.
  • I have no interest in playing a nine-hole course, no matter how good it may be.
  • Scotland has no one capable of golf at the world-class level.
  • The best equipment invention of our time was the TopFlite ball because it helped millions of hackers while doing absolutely nothing for the pros.
  • A mediocre seaside course beats a great inland one every time.
  • The finest companion on a golf course—or anywhere else—is a dog.
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